The role of a Data Governance Champion

Blog 11 Dec 2020
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My name is Fredrick Amani, I have been working as a system/database developer for National Institute for medical Research (NIMR) since August 2018, and am currently involved in several ongoing Studies: META, INTE-AFRICA and the MOCCA Extension study.

I have always been fascinated by technology from a young age, I enjoyed watching people in the movies writing a bunch of words that give them the ability to control machines/electronic devices, and this curiosity led me to study computer science while I was in college. During my years in college, I was more interested in modules that teach programming languages, and I was very passionate to learn them so I can be able to build systems that simplify/solve real-life problems. Working in Data management provided me with the opportunity to develop systems that are used in research for data collection. Not only that but also it is quite an exciting job due to the need to explore and earn about different technologies in order to meet the requirements of our complex research studies. This keeps me up to date with different technologies and continuously improving my skills. All in all, working in data management is an exciting career and I love everything about it.  

Day to day, I provide technical support for clinical staff working on both the META and INTE-Africa trials both in Tanzania and Uganda. I assist them when they get stuck while using EDC, solve any technical issues related to EDC usage, teach staff about new features and updates introduced into the EDC. I also collect queries, concerns, and suggestions from clinical staff and pass them to Erik van Widenfelt, the leading system developer/programmer. Also in Tanzania where am currently based, I manage all the electronic equipment used in the study, ensuring they are set up correctly on sites. I perform regular updates, upgrades, and maintenance to ensure all study activities are running as smoothly as possible.

Working with Erik on EDC has been a wonderful experience and has exposed me to new technologies and techniques for developing data collection systems, and overall data management activities in research. I have been learning a lot from him.

I am currently attending NIHR data governance training which is teaching me to look at data management from a different perspective. Before it was only about getting the system up and running, however in the data governance training I learn to closely examine every activity involved in a study/trial, breaking them down into small parts and assessing them closely to think about all possible associated risks and how to prevent or minimize the chances of their occurrence. I have gained quite a knowledge and am looking forward to developing guidelines that will be used in all our current and future studies within my unit and institution so as to strengthen the data management.

My future plan is continue my career in data management and to further increase my knowledge through studying towards an advance degree in data science, so as to strength the data management unit in my institution and develop efficient systems that will be used to conduct high quality research and produce high quality data, that will be used to inform public health policies that have positive impact on society.